Procrastinate is defined as “to put off or defer (an action) until a later time; delay; to postpone until tomorrow”.
There are many reasons for procrastination. I know a person who procrastinates because she simply can not work efficiently unless under extreme deadlines. So, if there is a week to do a project, she would rather procrastinate until the two day mark, and then get the project done in a frenzy. Effective? Who knows. It seems to work for her.
- Arousal types, or thrill-seekers, who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush.
- Avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability.
- Decisional procrastinators, who cannot make a decision. Not making a decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of events.
Being a chronic procrastinator can be bad for your health. “Just over the course of a single academic term, procrastinating college students had such evidence of compromised immune systems as more colds and flu, more gastrointestinal problems. And they had insomnia. In addition, procrastination has a high cost to others as well as oneself; it shifts the burden of responsibilities onto others, who become resentful. Procrastination destroys teamwork in the workplace and private relationships.”
So, how can you avoid procrastination? Perry Marshall, who consults both online and brick-and-mortar companies on generating sales leads, web traffic and maximizing advertising results, writes in entrepreneur.com, “It’s not that we don’t want to work. It’s that we’re afraid of doing work that will move the needle. Most of us are afraid of success.”
He shares a few thoughts about procrastination, and a few tips. Here are our favourites.
Perfectionism is the Root of all Evil
You haven’t become a leader by doing things at half-measures. But, being a perfectionist where it’s not necessary is not effective or efficient. Marshall notes, “You spend 15 minutes editing that email before you press send. You clean out your car twice a week. Most procrastination isn’t doing nothing, it’s doing what’s comfortable and mediocre.”
Flip Your Daily To-Do List
Chances are you’ve put the most important – probably the most difficult – task at the end. That’s human nature. So, once you’ve listed what you must accomplish today – flip your list around and start from the bottom up.
Put ‘Do Nothing’ on Your To-Do List
Schedule time to think. Schedule time to take a walk, or attend your child’s sports day events. As Marshall writes, consider the amount of time wasted on checking email or Facebook, and instead use that time for a creative break. “Your best business ideas will come when you’re not working. When you’re having fun doing what you enjoy doing, whether it’s reading novels or tossing a baseball with your kids, that feeds your creativity.”
What do you think? Are you a procrastinator? Have you ever wondered how you got that way? Please add your comments below.